Pontiac Played With Pickups, Never Delivered

Pontiac Played With Pickups, Never Delivered

General Motors' decision to pull the plug on Pontiac means we'll never see a pickup from the once-proud performance brand; at one time or another, there were three it considered building.

However unlikely it might seem, the idea of a Pontiac pickup came to life every couple of decades at Pontiac. In 1958, after watching Ford gain sales success with the Ranchero, GM decided to follow suit with the 1959 El Camino, based on the Chevy Impala. That same year GM also experimented with a Pontiac coupe-utility based on the full-size Catalina sedan, coupe and wagon platform. Legend has it that Pontiac built two of these 1959 “El Catalina” utes. One was used as a parts-hauler around the factory for many years, but the idea was never OK'd for production.

Pontiac El Catalina

In 1978, GM created an all-new midsize platform for the Chevy El Camino and its near-identical stablemate, the GMC Caballero (called the Sprint until 1977). Hoping to sell something with a stronger identity instead of different badging, Pontiac and GMC teamed up to create a coupe-utility that shared its front end and sporty wheels with the aggressive-looking LeMans-trimmed Grand Am. The so-called "Grand Amino" prototype was shown to executive management but axed in favor of the El Camino/Caballero status quo.

Pontiac Grand Amino

The last effort by Pontiac to build a pickup was its most serious. It came in 2008 when the 2010 Pontiac G8 ST was introduced to the public at the New York auto show. The G8 sport truck was based on the Holden ute from Australia, where car-based trucks have long been popular. It would have come to market with a 361-horsepower V-8 had it not been killed as part of GM's initial restructuring efforts to survive the current financial crisis that has now caused GM to kill the Pontiac brand all together.

Pontiac G8 Sport Truck


This particular lineup as sedans are sold as Chevy's and Buick's in other markets so I think that the pickup would make a perfect El Camino. I don't think that they would need much marketing behind it just make them available to automotive writers and test folks. For volumes they would need to add v6s and maybe even 4 cylinders to meet economy targets.

good riddance to the "cleverly named" G8 ST.

It would have sold even worse than the reincarnation of the GTO.

Well GM don't have no brain and dead!

Suprise suprise gm dropping pontiac? who needs more junk when you have a ton of junk already. now all they need to do is get rid of the GMC brand, that will really get alot of the junk cars off the road.

They need to keep GMC for there trucks as they are by far nicer looking and have a better fit and finish. My family has a 08 GMC Acadia and I looked at the Chevy Treverse which is the Chevy version of it. If I would have only seen the Chevy version I would not have spent my money on it. It looks very cheap compaired to the Acadia.

It is sad to see how far our auto industry has fallen under the crushing weight of bad management and lack of investment caused by looking only at quarterly profits. I am not a union guy, but I am not going to bash them because GM was a multi-generational failure of leadership.

Unfortunately, it is a microcosm of our entire country.

Pontiac died back around 1974. Remember the 1974 GTO - nothing more than a rebadged Nova.

All GTOs were rebadged something else.
The 74s with a 350 would outrun a 73 with a 400.
Holden makes some good cars, just don't call them GTOs

Everything says these weren't produced, but I saw one (and took pictures) this morning. White with SS badging on the side. It was beautiful.

Chandler, AZ

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